12.03.2016 - 17.03.2016 9 °C
I think we’ve just about got the hang of living here. We’ve had Aga-fried eggs, and Aga-baked potatoes, and Aga-dried clothes. We’ve walked the dogs through the fields every day, we’ve shopped at Tuckey’s butcher, and we’ve opened a bank account with the impossibly friendly Kimberley at Lloyd’s. We’ve watched Jeremy Kyle, Pointless and more dog shows than ever before, and we’ve watched the sun set over the midlands. We’ve learned that the ‘C&W’ radio station is ‘Coventry & Warwickshire’, NOT ‘country & western’ (much to my happiness). We have also hit our heads on the low doorways several times (doorway – 3, Simon and Alison – 0), but apart from that, all is going well.
We headed out to the Black Country Living Museum on Sunday, and Simon made a beeline straight for the canal boats. We had a tour of the Dudley Canals which may sound boring to some, but the tour guide/driver of the boat had just the right sense of humour and the mines and canals were just the right amount of impressive. Most entertaining – I was glad to have indulged Simon’s interest in canal boats this time. The actual museum was adequate – along the lines of Sovereign Hill or Pioneer Settlement Museum, but with a focus on the mining life that was the main industry in the area. The highlight was watching a Charlie Chaplin film (‘The Pawnbroker’) in the old cinema. The lowlight was the group of people who walked in part-way through the screening, proceeded to talk loudly and then immediately proceeded to proceed back out the door. Loudly. These people were spotted several times around the museum (because people-spotting is my thing) and they were very easily spotted because not many other visitors were wearing white stilettoes or short skirts. Yes, the sun was shining – but it was only 8 degrees. Put some pants on! Not many other visitors had brought along two overweight young girls who looked to be dressed for an American beauty pageant. And (thankfully) not many other visitors were holding lollipops in the mouths of 9 month old babies. Rant over.
Monday was Battle Day – or at least, Beginning of the Battle Day. We had a fiercely competitive round of table tennis out in the pig barn, best of five. The soundtrack was epic – The Beatles ‘Rubber Soul’ and Meatloaf ‘Bat out of Hell’ on the record player (I’ll let you decide which Buccheri picked which record). The rallies were long, the competition was close, and then, just when it looked like Simon was getting the upper hand (up by about 4 points in the deciding game), Fiona the Scottish Neighbour turned up and we all stopped for a cup of tea and a chat about life and the adventures it can entail. Battle to be continued – stay tuned…
Tuesday was Birmingham Day. We caught the train in to avoid the stress of navigating around and parking in the city (because we’re from the country). Apparently anyone who’s anyone was going to the Cheltenham Festival – the queues to catch the train in that direction from Birmingham were mind-boggling. Thankfully, we were just going to the BBC to have a bit of a look-see. A look-see in 360 degree view, as it turned out! That was a bit of fun, playing with the fancy shmancy technology whatsits, and also reading the weather (which allowed me to incorporate my passion for interpretive dance, surprisingly enough). Next stop was the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Simon enjoyed it (as he tends to do), but I thought it was a bit ‘meh’. Lots of exhibits were removed to protect them from the vibrations coming from the construction work nearby, which is not their fault, but even the exhibits that were in place were not life-changing. And the toilets would have only scored a 3/5, if they had been rate-able. Birmingham itself had some stunning architecture and yet the vibe of the city failed to thrill me. Maybe it was the grey sky, maybe it was me being a grump, or maybe it was just that the city was a functional place rather than a tourist destination. Or maybe we were just looking in the wrong places. Anyway – meh.
Tuesday night was anything but ‘meh’ – we ventured into Stratford-upon-Avon and ventured around and around and around until we could find a car park and then we ventured to the theatre and then we ventured up to the highest (and cheapest) seats and then we watched Hamlet. Wow!! I wish I had something more suitably Shakespearean to say about it, but in the words of the youth sitting in front of us: “Dude, this is dope!” Verily, it was quite dope. It was an interesting mix – it was a modern-costumed African interpretation of a Shakespearean English play set in Denmark. And yet, it worked. While there was some dialogue that was difficult for our uneducated ears, the concept of ‘wrong brother’ was readily interpreted. My favourite prop was the pink boombox – just like Steph’s, but three times the size. I’m sure Shakespeare would have been impressed.
Wednesday was a jobs-around-the-house kind of day, in preparation for Warwick Castle today. Huzzah for castles! And Warwick Castle offered plenty of cause for huzzah – as well as plenty of school children on excursions. Sooooooooooooooo many children… and at the sight of the trebuchet (or trenchbucket) firing, my husband turned into one of them! An 18kg ball of something solid was fired across the field at about 150mph, and I was happy not to be standing in the line of fire. There was also the birds of prey demonstration and a bowman demonstration and a talk about the grisly deaths and executions in the castles history (no children were eaten by the birds of prey, but I’m fairly sure the Chilean Eagle was eyeing them off). And the Dungeon tour – designed to scare the bejeebus out of you. I can honestly say that there is no bejeebus left in me. Even though we were laughing the whole time, there were plenty of shrieks from the whole group. And Simon should have feeling back in his hand by, oh, this time tomorrow.
And now dusk is falling on our final day in Botts Green – tomorrow we head to Runham for another housesitting adventure. Nink on!